Chapter 4// 75
“Okay. Whew, that was too close.” Lily says sounding exasperated.
The vents are actually quite big. I can kneel down in some areas, and I can sit up in others. I look around me and I see a whole bunch of areas to turn into. I can’t see what’s on the other side though.
What was Liel doing with those…. horrible people? I just can’t believe it. Maybe he doesn’t really know what is going on. But I highly doubt that. He said that they’d explain. What could that of meant?
After I got pulled into the vent, Lily pulled us Northward. I tried to ignore the claustrophobic feeling that I kept getting, but before I knew it I was suddenly feeling safer up in the small tight fitted vents. Evie on the other hand is just having a blast. She loves to “play spy” she said. I know that she is going to start complaining for food though, and we have none. Lily had told us that it was only going to be a one days journey.
We are taking a break from crawling on our arms, and we are sitting in one of the open areas. If I wanted to I could sit on my knees, but I don’t feel like it. Instead I sit in a corner by myself, knees up and my head in my legs. I here a shuffle and know that someone is coming over to me. I’m about to shoo Toby away when I hear Lily’s voice, “Hey,” She says softly. I don’t respond and keep my head tucked into my knees, if anything pulling myself into a smaller ball. I don’t want to talk to her right now.
“Look,” she says, “don’t give your brother.. uh, Liel? Isn’t that his name?,” when I don’t answer she asks Toby and he says yes, ” anyways don’t give Liel a hard time, okay? The Government can be very convincing, and I’m sure he is just as confused as you are.” She finishes.
I finally pick my head up and whisper as loudly as I dare, “Don’t give him a hard time? Really? Yeah, no, sorry. Even if abusing those children is going to save the world or whatever, I wouldn’t hurt them. I would die before I tested things on people. And.. Do not, give me a pep talk on how I should ‘give my brother a hard time’, okay” I spit at her.
“Fine.” She says. She goes to turn away, but I grab her hand.
“What are they doing to the people in their anyway?” I ask in spite of myself.
She looks down, then mumbles, “I can’t tell you.”
“Really? Because for all I know you are leading us to The Government right now.” I say.
She slams me back against the vent, then says with her forearm on my neck, ” If I wanted you to get caught I would have left you with the Government back there. Did I do that? No, I didn’t! So you better learn your place, before you get really, really hurt.”
I push her arm away, and look over at Toby and Evie. I notice that Evie is silently crying by Toby. He strokes her hair and gives me a chastening look.
“Well, enough of that,” Toby says, “We should get going.”
I know he is right and I reluctantly follow Lily down a west vent. We go down it for a while when we take a left and Evie starts to cry. Not the silent one that she was doing when me and Lily were getting into it, but sobs.
“I’m hot! And I’m hungry!” she screams.
“Evie stop! You need to control yourself.” I say. As we go down each vent their are openings on different floors below us. We can see people passing by, guards patrolling, people eating lunch. I look around to see if their are any openings near us and I notice one about 10 feet away. Evie needs to stop crying right now.
“No!” She cries back.
Toby pushes me aside and goes to Evie, “Hey look at me, ” Toby say soothingly, “If you stop crying, you could possibly get ice cream at the place that we are going to.”
That shuts her up, “Really!” she says back to Toby.
“Yup. But you can’t cry. Have you ever seen a crying spy?” Toby asks her.
“No.” Evie says shyly. Then she puts her finger to her lips and says quietly, “Let’s move soldiers.” But it sounds like ‘lethts move tholdiers’. Toby looks at Lily and she smiles at him and gives him a thumbs up. I can’t help but feel a pang of hurt.
We keep going west until we take a right. We find ourselves momentarily stuck while Lily contemplates where to go.
“I need a break again.” Evie says.
“Fine.” I say to her. We can stop anyway, because Lily obviously doesn’t know where she is going. We are near an opening below us and I see people walking by. I put my finger to my lips and look directly at Evie. She smiles at me and then looks down. I reach over to her and hold her hand, hoping that she doesn’t make a noise.
“Left.” I hear Lily say. Toby puts his hand on her shoulder and steers her that way. She returns the gesture by placing a hand on his cheek. Its infuriating, and I’ve had enough of it already.
We have already been in the vents for two hours. And I feel like I can’t breathe because they keep turning on the heater. They know that we are in here though, so I’m not surprised that they are trying to lure me out.
I’m worried about Evie though. Her cheeks are starting to turn bright red and she’s sweating. I can also tell that she is tired because her eyes keep closing. I should have never taken her here. It’s my fault. Lily says that we are about four hours away when I hear a bang. I turn around and see Evie face down. Toby is behind her and I am in front of her.
Oh no. I reach for her and she is unconscious. Drool silently falls from her pink lips.
“Stop Lily, Evie passed out I think.” I tell her. Lily turns around and crawls back over to us. She places her hand on Evies head, saying that she has a fever.
“She probably had a heat stroke, “Lily explains,” I think that she will be fine, but I don’t know. She is very small and I don’t think that her body could take the heat. We need to get out of here though, or else her condition could get worse.”
“What do you mean get out?” Toby asks Lily.
“I think that its time to drop out of the vents… and walk the rest of the way, “she says, “It will be way easier to carry her while walking, then sliding her in the vents. Either way, I don’t think that we are going to get their until tomorrow.”
“It won’t be as safe though right?” I ask.
“No it won’t, but I don’t want her condition to severe in any way.” she replies
“Well like Lily said, either way we aren’t going to get there today. I thinks that its our best option.” Toby says.
I can’t help but nod in agreement.
Lily explains to us that there is a drop out about ten minutes away from where we are currently. We decide put Evie on Toby’s back, but he can’t army crawl with her on his back, so we have to drag her. She’s in and out of conciseness, but she won’t stay awake long enough for someone to ask her if she is okay. She is getting marks on her arms from being dragged for so long. I feel bad, but we have no other option.
Then we start to here… sirens. They sound faint at first but then they sound so close it feels like my brain is on fire. Evie decides to wake up and start screaming her head off. I turn to look at her and I know that something is wrong. Her eyes seem to bulge, and the scream that was so loud seems to be stuck in her throat.
Thats when she slams her head back against the vent and her back arches in a way that I didn’t know was possible. She’s having a seizure! Her body convulses and white foam begins to erupt from her mouth. I get to her as fast as I can and turn her on her side. Toby is trying to block her blows against the vent, but its hopeless. The foam leaves her mouth and the seizure appears to have stopped. She lays motionless, and limp. Is she…?
“Lily can you…?” I ask, my voice barley audible.
“Um, yeah, sure,” she says almost as silently. She crawls past me and checks Evie’s pulse. She looks at me and smiles. Not the in so sorry smile, or the pity smile, but the it’s going to be okay smile.
“She is okay,” Lily says hopefully.
I feel tears slide down my cheeks, and when I know that I can speak comfortably with out my voice breaking, I say, “She has never had a seizure before. What caused that?”
Toby is the one to answer even though the comment was directed at Lily, “When someone has a heat stroke, assuming that Evie had a heat stroke, it can so severe that she could and did end up having a seizure. I did a research paper in school my freshman year about seizures and epilepsy” he says, at my questioning looks. I just smile at him and nod. I want this tension between us to just… disappear.
But it seems to just… drag on. Which sucks.
Lily directs us to the drop out. We are about 20 feet high, and I start to feel nauseous. Today does not seem like the day to break an ankle.
“Well I could drop down first and see if their are any people down there.” Lily offers.
“No I should. What if something happens to you?” Toby asks quietly.
She looks at him and places her hand on his cheek, saying, “I’ll be okay. I’m pretty tough.”
I feel a twinge of jealousy for some reason. What is going on with me? I have never.. Well I wouldn’t go as far as never. But I don’t like Toby in that way. He has always been my best friend and only my best friend.
So why do I feel this way?
Lily pushes on the covering of the vent door and it slides down. Lily pokes her head out and looks to see if the coast is clear. Apparently it is, because the next thing that I know is that she is slipping down the vent hatch landing on the ground with a loud thud. I look down at her and see that she landed on her back. Ouch.
Toby grabs Evie and starts to slide her down. I hold the back of his feet while he holds Evie’s hand and gives her to Lily. Lily cannot reach Evie so he has to drop her in Lily’s hands. My heart sank a little when he did that.
Toby turns around and looks at me, “Hey I know that you are afraid of heights but I will catch you. I promise.”
I just look at him and give a wary smile. He turns back toward the dropout and drops through. I hear a thud and then look down. Toby is starting to stand up and he gives me a tight smile and reaches up. He is going to try and catch me. Try.
I put my legs out to where they are swinging now. I take a deep breath and fall. Toby reaches to catch me and he does. That is until I almost crush him and he falls back and slams to the ground. I look at him and he just smiles.
“Ow” he says smiling.
“I am so sorry!” I respond.
“Your good. Just next time give me a little heads up, please,” he tells me.
I nod at him and I realize that I haven’t spoken to him like this is a whole day. He stand up and so do I. I can’t help myself but I hug him. He wraps his long arms around me and sighs. We both needed this.
“Sorry to break this up. But, uh, we need to go,” Lily says.
I turn and see that she is holding little Evie in her arms. Toby offers to hold her but she just says that she wants to hold her.
“Lead the way, ” I nod to Lily.
She smiles at me and looks at our surroundings. From where I am, we are in a all cement hallway with two very dim yellow lights.
“Where are we,” I ask quietly.
Lily looks back at me and Toby and says, “Be very quiet. We are in the prison.”
The what? Prison? I didn’t know that they had a prison down in The Bunker. I glance at Toby and see that he has the same shocked expression on his face. So, they are holding kids here? I can’t help but wonder to myself what the age groups of these kids are, and why they are in here. I try not to let my mind wonder to far but I can’t help myself. All of the children down here just seemed to be emotionless and sad. I’ve never even seen a kid speak against a teacher. I couldn’t imagine why they are down here in cages.
I’m about to ask why when Toby gets to Lily before me, “Why are these kids down here?”
“I can’t tell you that until…. Just please let Tommy explain,” she pleads with us.
I nod at her, but really, in my heart I want to scream at her. She keeps telling us that its to hard to explain, or that “Tommy will explain” and I’m tired of it already. I ignore my emotions and just fallow her down the left corridor. We walk for about five minutes when the doors appear. On the left and right walls are doors. These doors are almost identical to the ones that we saw in the secret place that we weren’t supposed to be in. The one that had the little girl all bruised and bloody. The one that had all the syringes outside the door. I start to feel like someone is suffocating me, and I have to take deep breaths.
Toby notices my hyperventilating and grabs my hand. I hold on tight, afraid that if I let go I will break down again. Lily turns around and whispers, “We need to keep moving guys.”
We move forward but I don’t let go of Toby’s hand. Instead we pass each door and notice that most of them our occupied. I see someone banging on the glass, but I can’t hear a thing. Sound proof. I go to open up a door when Lily speaks, “They won’t open. You have to have a key card.”
Lily starts to walk on and is far enough ahead of us, that I can say, “I hate that she isn’t telling us anything. Its killing me not knowing anything. I mean.. what if this ‘Tommy’ doesn’t even tell us the truth?”
He take his hand from mine and puts it around my shoulder instead when he says, “Its all we got.”
I just nod in understanding and we don’t speak the rest of the way down this hall. Lily’s arms get tired so she gives Evie to Toby. I can tell that she is starting to get nervous and I ask her if she is scared. She tells me no, but I can’t help but notice the nervous tremor in her hands. I soon find out why though.
“Being down here isn’t good for me, ” she says, “I used to be in the cell… I was put in here because they didn’t want me to tell people that they were the ones that shot me.” A tear slides down her nose dripping on to her tank top.
“How did you get out?” I ask.
“Look,” she says, ” Tommy got me out. He got a lot of people out. I’m telling you though let him explain, it will be better from him then me. Okay?”
“Fine.” I respond.
We walk down a narrow hallway when Toby starts yawning. I feel drained with fatigue that I’m afraid that I will pass out.
“Lily,” I ask,” how come their are no guards down here?”
“Oh,” she starts, “They don’t patrol at night or in the daytime, they usually come out when they want someone out of their cell. They think that the doors are so secure. But they aren’t, not really. They have a guard though at all the exits. We just haven’t passed one yet.”
I nod at her and then ask, “Are we coming up to one anytime soon?”
“No. Not that I am aware of.”
“Okay. Where are we going to sleep tonight?” I ask.
“Probably in a utility closet or something. I’m sure they have one down here. That’s what I have been looking for.”
We have been walking for almost an hour when I see something on the floor. Its circular and I notice that their are holes all over it. It finally clicks. Its a drain.
“Wait. Stop. What is below that drain?” I ask.
Lily looks down at the drain and a huge grin spreads across her face. She is giddy with happiness when she says, “That is our way to the Tunnels.”